Q Barbecue | Downtown LaGrange 70. S. LaGrange Road La Grange, IL 60525 or 103 S. Main St. Naperville, IL 60540 | 708.482.8700 or 630.637.6400 | Hours: 11am-9pm daily
If you’re looking for some tasty and cozy grub in the Chicagoland area, not all the best places are in the city proper. In the downtown La Grange(and, more recently, Naperville) is a barbecue restaurant aptly named Q that serves up a selection of deliciously smoky meats and homemade-style sides with signature barbecue sauces. The restaurant’s menu neither large nor static, but rather it changes up with availability, price and to keep things interesting with an array of familiar yet rejuvenated comfort foods.
Most recently at the original La Grange location the meat selection consisted of beef brisket, pulled pork, and brisket burnt ends to have on a sandwich, slider or in a meat combo; sometimes they offer other items like chicken wings, sausages or ribs. Every plate comes with at least one side, such as molasses-y bbQ baked beans, 6-cheese Mac Q Roni or sweet n’ fluffy corn bread sticks. They also are accompanied by a nicely balanced cole slaw, neither too heavy on the vinegar nor the mayo, and a couple of Q-pups (lots of the menu item names include the letter Q; it can be Q-onfusing), which are hush puppies (i.e. fried corn bread) but in a more convenient stick instead of sphere shape.
For those who only enjoy a barbecue joint that dons a specific regional style, Q might not be their cut of meat—its menu and signature sauces are inspired by a multitude of recipes and styles ranging from Texas to Carolina to Tennessee to Alabama. They have four distinct but equally delicious sauces to add to your meal, which cover the four main bases of barbecue sauce-onomics—mustard, sweet, vinegar and spicy—and are cooked with the various cuts of meat as appropriate.
The last time I had a carnivorous fire in my belly, I decided to head to Q to see what it had going on since the last time I had been there some months before. I was delighted to find that they had since added brisket burnt ends to the menu. Intrigued, I decided to order it on one of my Q-sliders, which is a set of three choose-your-own meat mini sandwiches that come with a side and Q-puppies. Upon the first succulent bite, I regretted not getting the burnt ends on all three sliders. For the other two, I got regular beef brisket, which was as tender as usual but didn’t have the depth of smokiness nor the outer glazed texture of the burnt ends or the added mystery sauce on top. The ends had the perfect outer-inner texture balance and just the right amount of tang on the surface. For my side, I opted for the bbQ baked beans, which were a bit sweeter with apple wood than I remembered and left me a bit thirsty and overwhelmed with barbecue sauce flavor towards the end of my meal. Luckily, I could get free refills on brewed tea (or buy a beer or glass of wine, if I so chose) and unlimited pickle slices to give my meal some equilibrium. The Q-pups also added harmony as they were crunchy on the outside and soft and textured on the inside, and not too greasy.